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The Working Class in Revolutionary France

What Makes a Revolutionary?

The Life
Les Mis: marius
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Works Cited

site underconstruction . . .

Revolution of 1789: The People Who Served

The image of the Revolutionary hero "is an exhilerating one of dedicated enthusiasm and revolutionary elan, with the typical soldier depicted as a young man burning with patriotic fervour and ready to spill his blood selflessly on the battlefield" (Forrest, p. 138). Marius, from Les Miserables, comes to mind with this description. However, not only young fervent students served in the revolutuionary armies. Men of standing, and men of low class all took part in the revolution. And all were not "burning with patriotic fervour."

The worker-class of France, such as the carpenter or the farmworker, would never come to regard military service with the intense passion of the Dubois-Crance. The working-class of the French Revolution had other responsibilities plaguing them, than the winning the revolutions. Most had to think of the quality of next year's harvest, the well-being of their family, the reality of unemployment after the army.

In the revolutions, the army consisted of a low-class majority: the poor peasants, or landless labourers were recruited into the army, more-so than high standing men in each community. In 1792, the enrollments for the District of Lyon-campagnes were bribed with a signing-on bounty of about 80 to 120 livres. Agricultural workers account for 51% of those that were bribed into signing.


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Dangerous Lower Class Paris Proper Lady